Mast Raising and Lowering method
by Dave McGuire
Click on any picture to see a larger version!
halyard connects from tip of mast to outboard end of the pole. Tow
line from our old ski boat runs down from pole through snatch block at
bow, through snatch block on toe rail, and to jib winch at cockpit.
(see pole arrangement - left)
Three winds still requires a handle on my single speed winch.
Two other lines attach to outer end of pole and are tied to toerail port
and starboard so they are snug when mast is lowered (slightly loose when
mast is raised). Too loose and mast is unstable as it lowers.
Too tight and it bends the pole (did it - toe rail and rest of rigging
was fine). I plan to
dedicate lines with clips that have length set in the future.
|Otherwise, although raising is easy, it still requires guessing
for tension when I am preparing to lower it again. In the Keys
this was not a problem though. We used it so often I just bungeed
it to the deck with the lines still tied to the toerail. It was
not really in the way of the Genoa or sheets - we tucked it under the
solar shower on the starboard side of the forward cabin - and it cut
prep time by several minutes when we needed to duck under a bridge.
Haven't tried it with working jib - might be a little cluttered to have
the pole there with the jib inside the lifelines. (see
cradle and pole arrangement - right)
Lowering is quick, slipping by hand on winch (2 winds) a foot or so at a
time until it is just above cradle, then gently lowering in. This
meant we could do it easily under way even in waves, setting it up to
wave and wind and lowering in a brief window of opportunity (requires
assistant to monitor backstay to keep
|| it from fouling prop - this was
one problem we
actually managed to avoid!). I preferred raising with the wind
astern and lowering with the wind dead ahead. Critical moment is near
bottom when raising or lowering. Higher is more stable.
Instability was a problem one time at the dock when we raised the mast with the
Christmas lights in the rigging. A bystander tried to
help by keeping the lights on the backstay out of the water, but she put
too much tension on the backstay from the
angle where she stood on the dock. This caused the mast to sway
well over the dock. I lowered it quickly into the cradle, grabbing
it and straightening it as it lowered
(lowering it is one handed, leaving a free hand under the mast in the
center of the cockpit).
| The next try went fine. With no side
tension the mast went up as it should. Over time we became
proficient enough to raise it as we motored away from shore before we
hit the waves, so long as we motored with the wind dead astern. We
preferred this to the alternative of hitting real waves with the mast in
the cradle. (snatch block and lines for raising
We had problems when waves were over 3 feet. The mast would bounce
in the cradle despite multiple tight bungees. One time the tip of
the mast went into a large wave as it passed behind, bending the Windex.